If you’re putting off your mammogram, consider this. Delaying by a year or more can let a cancer that’s not detected continue to grow - and become more difficult to treat.
Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. One in eight will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Annual mammograms and clinical breast exams are the best defense against cancer for all women, since they help detect cancer at the earliest stage, when it is easiest to treat. Women with early stage breast cancers have an excellent prognosis.
Instead of putting off that mammogram date, think of this simple preventive screening as a lifesaver, and the kind of best friend that catches you before you fall.
Here are more reasons to schedule your annual mammogram:
Mammograms are impressive! They spot tiny lumps or abnormalities long before they can be felt. The 5-year survival rate is 99% when breast cancer is located only in the breast.
It’s for you (yes, you!) Most women diagnosed with breast cancer don’t have a family history, though a family history does increase your risk. The fact is about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
Every woman has an elevated risk of breast cancer simply because they are a woman.
You’re probably not too young. Every woman should have an annual mammogram starting at age 40, or age 35 if you have risk factors or a family history of breast cancer. The American College of Surgeons, the American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society all agree that women of average risk, regardless of family history, should get their first mammogram at age 40 and get one yearly thereafter.
It’s not that bad! Our trained experts use 3D mammography, which offers enhanced patient comfort. If your breasts are tender the week prior to menstruation, scheduling your mammogram for a different week will help. If you are worried about pain, tell your imaging professional. They care about your comfort.
Avoiding it won’t help. No one wants bad news, but the more knowledge you have about your own health, the more empowered you are to make decisions and take care of yourself. It can’t be overemphasized how much easier it is to treat breast cancer when it is caught at its earliest stage.
You’re not too busy. Women often put taking care of family before taking care of themselves. Take this to heart: If you don’t care for your own health, you could face a more difficult to treat cancer. That scenario will make it harder for you to care for your family -- and put you in the position of needing your family to care for you. Taking time out for a yearly mammogram is the best gift you can give your loved ones.
Share the power! It’s true that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer, but early detection with a clinical breast exam and a mammogram is the best way to beat it. Once you’ve scheduled your annual mammogram, remind 8 women in your life to do the same!